DC Comics Publisher Dan Didio confirmed via Facebook that the publisher has lost the rights to three pulp characters, Doc Savage, The Avenger and most notably The Spirit. His simple statement read, “Sorry to say but none of these characters are still at DC but here’s hoping that another publisher gets them back in print soon.” DC will retain the rights to publish The Spirit Archives, reprinting the character’s original comic book exploits. When questioned about the fact that most of the 25 volumes of The Spirit Archives are out-of-print, Denis Kitchen, representing the Will Eisner Estate replied, “I would say watch for a press release in the not too distant future which might provide a clue.”
DC launched a revamped series starring The Spirit, written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke in 2007, however after Cooke left the title, the series faltered and was cancelled with issue #32 in 2009. The character was then included in the series First Wave, alongside Doc Savage, The Avenger, literary character Rima the Jungle Girl, the Blackhawks as well as Batman and Black Canary. The series had two spin-offs starring Doc Savage and The Spirit, with The Avenger appearing in a backup feature in Savage’s book.
While First Wave wasn’t a smash success, this era of heroes has its fans, as Dynamite Comics has discovered with it’s Alex Ross-driven revival books, originating with Project: Super Powers, which has spawned many spin-offs, most famously The Spirit starring another pulp hero. Though no one has made an announcement, it would seem that these three characters would be a perfect fit for this publisher.
Will you miss seeing these characters at DC? Could they have worked as part of the New 52? (Answer: No.) Which publisher do you think could serve them best? Comment below!